Whether people realize it or not, everyone needs an estate plan. They are critical for legally securing health care protections, end-of-life medical contingencies, and, of course, inheritance decisions upon your passing. For each of these areas, you need to be able to rely on a trusted decision maker to act on your behalf. Selecting the right decision maker for each of the estate planning tools you need may be one of the most important considerations involved in any estate plan.

A trusted decision maker may need to perform a variety of tasks, whether confined to a specific area of your estate or throughout the entirety of your affairs as your sole decision maker. At a minimum, he or she should know you extremely well, care deeply about your well-being, and be both willing and able to perform. 

Estate-related responsibilities may not be easy. A decision maker may need to make informed medical decisions, manage your finances, and serve as a loved one’s caregiver. Financial considerations may involve paying bills, managing a trust, addressing taxes, and distributing property to heirs. 

Considering all that is required and expected, estate plan decision makers will need to possess certain character traits to best serve your needs. Bear in mind, these can be emotionally charged situations and you need to be able to rely on someone who can keep a level head at all times. These character traits should include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Honesty
  • Excellent communication
  • Diplomacy
  • Commitment to advancing your wishes
  • Capable of handling complex financial and legal paperwork
  • Organization
  • Reliability

The best candidates for your estate plan may not be the most deserving family member; rather, they may be individuals who are most capable of performing according to the above criteria. It is entirely plausible that an elder adult may have an adult child who is deeply honest and committed to the aging parent’s well-being, while also lacking the wherewithal to manage complex financial affairs. In these cases, you can nominate different people to serve in different capacities. Further, it is always best practice to name a secondary person as well.

Whomever you choose to make estate decisions, make sure you first give it considerable thought. It is too important not to. If you or someone you know would like more guidance regarding the selection of estate decision makers, do not wait to contact us now, or anytime throughout the year.